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Gabrielvotes: an election special

The Brexit Party thinks there are too many Poles, while the rest of us think there are too many polls, as Britain goes to the ballot boxes yet again today. Join Gabrielquotes for a thrilling glance through all the important features of the general election that nobody really wants.

(Also, I’ve done two general election specials before, not to mention local elections and the EU referendum, yet only just thought of the pun “Gabrielvotes”. I’ve still got it.)

What your votes really mean

Everyone with a vested interest in this election has been keen to tell you what your vote really means: how a vote for Party A actually indicates support for Cause B. As a massive favour for you, Gabrielquotes & Co LLP has very kindly consolidated all of this advice into one convenient – if inconsistent – guide:

  • A vote for the Lib Dems is a vote for Corbyn.
  • A vote for the Lib Dems is a vote for Johnson.
  • A vote for Labour is a vote for anti-Semitism.
  • Tomatoes are a fruit, not a vegetable.
  • A vote for the Tories is a vote for selling the NHS.
  • A vote for the SNP is a vote for Remain.
  • A vote for the Greens is a vote for having your journey on the Central line delayed by Extinction Rebellion.
  • A vote for the Lib Dems is a vote for a Lib Dem government with Jo Swinson as Prime Minister (This is the silliest one. -Ed.)
  • A vote for Corbyn is a vote for Hamas.
  • A vote for Johnson is a vote for a fake Brexit that keeps us part of the EU’s insidious octopus.
  • Votey Mcvoteface is the name the public chose.
  • A vote for Anneka and Kevin will cost 57p per minute plus your standard network rate.
  • Erm…
  • That’s it.

Promises, promises

The parties have all got into the Christmas spirit by agreeing to release one election promise every day. Just like the contents of an advent calendar, these promises are overpriced, unhealthy and vanishingly unlikely to survive as long as January the 1st.

Labour has pledged to provide free broadband for everyone (providing that the only sites they choose to visit are CorbynAndChill.net, ComeradesReunited.uk.com and Clause4chan.org), while the Tories have pledged to give Nigel Farage a peerage. Both commitments seem faintly corrupt, but at least Labour’s offer is superficially attractive to the voting public.

By dangling the prospect of Lord Farage in front of us, Boris Johnson has actually made a vow that leaves me even less likely to vote for him than I was before. Perhaps he should have submitted this plan to peer review before announcing it? (You’re fired. -Ed.)

Now, we’re being given a new present each day in the run-up to Christmas. If only I could think of an easily-parodiable song to provide a structure through which I can satirise Election 2019. Oh wait… I have it:

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The rules of the election

Everyone knows I have a soft spot for electoral administration. But what very few people know is that there is actually a whole tractate of the Mishnah* dedicated to outlining the halachot and regulations around voting. So please click below (or here tbh) and read the two newly-discovered pages of manuscript that make up all we know of Masechet B’chirah.

*a tractate of the Mishnah wot I wrote this week

Note from Gabriel: this is a parody. It doesn’t mean I don’t have serious concerns about Labour’s institutional anti-Semitism (I do). It doesn’t mean I love Corbyn (I don’t). It doesn’t mean I’m mocking people’s heartfelt fears (I’m not). What it means is that I deprecate Stephen Pollard’s fearmongering, with reporting which, surely deliberately, leaves people more afraid than they need be. I deprecate his attempt to make British Jews forget that we are both British and Jewish, and to manipulate voters into thinking only about themselves and not giving a thought to the impact of our vote on wider society. And I explain all this in more mild and reasoned terms IN THIS SERMON. Please do not send me angry tweets if you don’t get these subtleties. Thanks in advance. (Do you really think the people who send you angry tweets get subtleties? -Ed.) (No. But they’ll be too busy pretending to pack their bags to spend time reading this blog. -GKW)

Another song

I hope this annoys Farage

If a second referendum is becoming a possiblity, so too must a second song (Please, no. -Ed). And it would be remiss of Gabrielquotes Publishing Plc to let slip the opportunity to mark this thrilling moment that, years after the Brexit vote, we’re still in the EU.

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Video footage emerged last month of Boris Johnson promising businesspeople in Northern Ireland that his “fantastic, oven-ready” Brexit deal will leave them with full access to the single market: “There will be no forms, no checks, no barriers of any kind. You will have unfettered access.” This sounds like a brilliant idea! If only there were a way to secure similar access for exporters and businesses across the rest of the UK.

This phrase “oven-ready” does deserve some checks and fetters, however. Johnson has repeatedly guaranteed that his deal is “oven-ready”. In one speech he said it was “oven-ready, just pop it in the microwave”. OK, you might say, perhaps he’s using the slightly antiquated term ‘microwave oven’; it goes with his slightly antiquated views on black people and his slightly antiquated Leader of the House of Commons. But then in another speech he said that his deal is “ready to put in the oven, gas mark 4”. It’s a rare microwave that can perform at gas mark 4. But then again it’s a rare Prime Minister who can have gone back to Brussels to negotiate a better deal than his predecessor and ended up with something worse.

What a time to be alive.

An English lesson

Everyone’s favourite flame warriors Sussex Friends of Israel recently did a Facebook post referring to the anti-Semitic actions of “a Gestapo of Corbynites”. They obviously take the view that a collective noun that doesn’t use Holocaust imagery is a collective noun not worth having.

But I decided to take part in their game of venery, and to come up with a series of other, similarly objectionable collective nouns of the sort that might be used by far-right trolls and also the editor of the Daily Mail:

Anyone got any further suggestions? (I’m particularly interested in coming up with a collective noun for ice sculptures.) Leave a comment below!

Go back to your constituencies and prepare for a f**king nightmare

Vote. Vote early, vote often. Try to vote in a way that will protect the vulnerable people in society and not just yourself. Join me in the Election Day Prayer as polls close at 10pm.

And Gabrielquotes & Gabrielquotes Ltd will be back for Channukah. See you then.

Nob off

The Court of Session in its best wigs

The nobile officium, popularly referred to as “the nob off”, is a uniquely Scottish principle of law which, so far as I can tell, means that the courts can do whatever they want. There’s a bit more to it than that, but as a rough summary, that more or less covers it.

So it is to the Scottish courts that anti-Brexit campaigners have turned, seeking protection against Boris Johnson’s oft-repeated threats to refuse to seek an extension from the EU.

Let’s get The Nobile Officium Song out of the way (it has a bit of a Mary Poppins theme), then we can get down to some nitty gritty…

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Phew. Now that that’s over…

On my honour…

Boris Johnson’s lawyer told the Court of Session in Edinburgh that the government would comply with the Benn Act and seek an extension. Then Boris Johnson’s secretary of state for Brexit told the press in London that the government would not seek an extension. Then Boris Johnson’s lawyer said, no, the government definitely would. Then Boris Johnson’s secretary of state for Brexit said, no, the government definitely wouldn’t.

The Scottish judge, Lord Pentland (pictured right), was clearly getting somewhat tired with this and asked if the government would guarantee, in a sworn affidavit that’s legally binding, that it would comply. The answer was no: “There’s no need. It wouldn’t make any difference.”

“I think it would,” observed Lord Pentland.

Ultimately, proceedings ended with the government offering to make a pinky promise not to be naughty. The judge made avizandum (on which more below).

About Gina Miller

The last major case against Boris Johnson was brought by Gina Miller. It seems that some sections of the public are quite confused about her as well. Here are some confused people and the correct way to respond to them:

CP: She’s foreign!
CR: No, she was born in the British Empire… where, incidentally, we were foreign but for some reason still in charge.

CP: Nobody voted for her!
CR: People don’t need a democratic mandate to initiate legal proceedings. That would be stupid.

CP: She only did it because she’s annoyed Johnson shut down Parliament and she wanted to get her way!
CR: Well, quite. The question of ‘was Johnson allowed to shut down Parliament’ naturally only arose when Johnson, er, shut down Parliament.

CP: This judgment changes nothing: we’re still going to leave, suckers.
CR: Then stop whinging.

CP: She’s committed treason!
CR: Her case has been addressed by fourteen highly experienced judges. If she was committing treason don’t you think at least one of them would have spotted it and called the police?

CP: She’s just a wealthy hedge fund manager!
CR: Lucky there aren’t any wealthy hedge fund managers involved in the Brexit campaign then.

CP: It’s terrible how all these Remain campaigners are gloating about their win.
CR: Gosh, let me cast my mind back into the mists of time, because that reminds me of something…

CP: The money the government spent on lawyers could have gone towards hospitals or children’s homes.
CR: That’s a slightly simplistic view of public expenditure, but also: yes. It could. If the government hadn’t broken the law and then tried to wriggle off the hook, it could have saved a lot of public funds.

CP: The Supreme Court isn’t democratic.
CR: It was created by an Act of Parliament. If things created by Acts of Parliament aren’t democratic then that includes the referendum.

CP: This wasn’t just about legal process: she never wanted us to leave in the first place.
CR: OMG off with her head!

CP: How can she complain that she attracted attention when she deliberately sought media coverage?
CR: Perhaps she wanted people to engage with her arguments about the nature of democracy and the British constitution, not to abuse her, threaten her and call for her deportation? You have to admit that’s a possibility.

CP: Her speech after winning was all about her, her, her.
CR: So were your last ten tweets all about her.

CP: She just took a dump on the Magna Carta!
CR: Literally no section of the Magna Carta, in force or repealed, is remotely relevant to this case.

CP: Someone must be bankrolling this!
CR: So? The judges ruled on the law, not on how much they like the look of the claimant.

CP: Her lawyers are making a pretty packet out of this.
CR: Actually many of them were giving their time for free, but also, so what? The government’s lawyers (and the judges) also ‘made a pretty packet’ out of this, ie. got paid for doing their jobs.

CP: She’s just motivated by her business interests.
CR: Possibly. That’s entirely acceptable. Lots of people and companies advocated this way and that in the referendum based on their commercial interests..

CP: Why do people like her never ask the authorities to clamp down on illegal immigration?
CR: Because not everyone focuses on every single political issue. Did you contribute to the recent Department for Transport consultation on reforms to the railway penalty fare system? No? ‘Why do people like you never comment on that?’

CP: Every single person supporting her works for a global corporation
CR: Er hi there!

CP: Oliver Cromwell would have had her head on a spike.
CR: Oliver Cromwell went to all the trouble of abolishing the monarchy, then he appointed his son to succeed him. Pardon me if I don’t take lessons in liberal democracy from Oliver Cromwell.


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The Benn Act: frequently asked questions

Parliament has passed a law requiring the Prime Minister to seek an extension from the EU so as to avoid a no-deal Brexit. It was introduced into the House of Commons by Hilary Benn MP and is therefore known as the Benn Act. Here are some useful facts about it.

Q: Is the Benn Act illegal?
A: No.

Q: Is it unconstitutional for Parliament to pass laws that the government doesn’t like?
A: No.

Q: Is it unconstitutional for Parliament to pass laws that go against the referendum result?
A: No.

Q: Can we challenge John Bercow’s decision to allow MPs to debate such a stupid law?
A: No.

Q: Is the Prime Minister allowed to put the will of the people above the Benn Act and refuse to get an extension?
A: No.

Q: But he can request an extension with his fingers crossed, right, so it doesn’t count and we still leave on 31 October?
A: No.

Q: How about if he requests an extension but only a 12-hour extension?
A: Just no.

Q: EU law takes priority over British law though so the Benn Act is invalid, yes?
A: No.

Q: Well… you’ll see. Dominic Cummings has a way round it. You don’t know his plan because it’s way above your pay grade. But the Benn Act is going to be found invalid.
A: No.

Hope this helps.

Expectum avidandum!

Scottish legal vocabulary is particularly joyful. Apart from nobile officium and the Outer House (both of which could well follow the phrase Harry Potter and the…) we had the submission, “The Prime Minister’s arguments must be repelled.” Damn right they must!

And then there is the amazing word avizandum, as in, “to make avizandum”. This technically means, to go away and consider something in more detail. But frankly it must be a spell of some sort, perhaps the magic word that will keep Britain in the EU when uttered alongside the requisite potion.

Nobile acknowledgementium

So, as the extension letter of time is dispatched by the Scots judge of destiny, and as the Prime Minister of fate is dispatched to the prison cell of eternity, it appears to be the end of the blog post.
In this week’s episode, the Scottish judiciary was led by Lord Pentland, with Gina Miller representing the overprivileged elite and Jacob Rees-Mogg representing the downtrodden underdog. Additional material was produced by Hilary Benn. This was an Gabrielquotes production.